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In homestretch, RVA Mayor candidates pitch to undecided voters

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RICHMOND, Va - Driving down the block of 15th Street between Hull and Stockton in the Manchester neighborhood, it appears many of the folks who live there have made up their minds about who they will vote for as Richmond's next mayor.

A "Mosby 4 Mayor" sign here, a Jack Berry sign there, a "Fighting Joe Morrissey" sign right across the street.

But Ira Turner, who has lived on 15th Street for nearly 50 years, is like thousands of voters in Richmond; undecided who will get his vote on Nov. 8.  In fact, a recent poll commissioned by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce found that nearly 40 percent of voters surveyed are still mulling over their choices for the city's top job.

"If we could hear a lot more about what the candidates are willing to do, that would help me out," Turner said.

With only 15 days until election day, CBS 6 asked each campaign to share a few thoughts on the key message they want Richmond to hear before casting a ballot.

Jon Baliles

"Our message has been resonating and our momentum growing in the last month. People see that my experience, judgment and trust are the key to moving our city forward to make Richmond work for all of us.”

Jack Berry

"We need a mayor who is going to unity the community, unite schools, and who has experience," said Berry during a press conference Monday.  "[The city of Richmond] is a major cooperation.  $700 million budget with almost 5,000 employees. We need somebody that is a proven leader, that has experience and can bring the community together."

Bobby Junes

"What I hear and have heard over and over again since starting the campaign for mayor in March 2016 is a firm concern about the way the city government has let down the education/academic process in lieu of other projects.  Time to refocus all the time, effort, energy that has been spent on pursuing business types of investment (baseball stadium, bicycle race, Redskin training camp, and Stone Brewery) and to invest in the future citizens of Richmond students educational system."

Joe Morrissey

"Progressive Democrat Joe Morrissey is the only candidate who pledged never to spend city money on a professional baseball stadium. He will put the schools and our children first. Morrissey is the only candidate who polls say can defeat Republican Jack Berry, the pro-stadium candidate."

Michelle Mosby

"A lot of these candidates are unproven and represent politics at its finest; others have proven to be absolutely unfit in character and legislation. I truly believe I am the only candidate invested in all the people of Richmond. While other candidates are talking about what they could and would do, what they might and want to do, none of them have done what I have done in terms of bringing our school board, administration, and [city] council together."

Levar Stoney

"This election is not just about whether or not we can have a Mayor who will actually keep the trains running on time, but a Mayor who can actually provide a vision for the next 20-30 years in our city. We do not need a Mayor who will isolate this city or who will keep us on the front pages for anything uncomplimentary because of professional misconduct. We need a Mayor we can actually trust."

Lawrence Williams

"I am confident that the 40% of undecided voters have waited to be certain of their vote for me and are now certain their vote will bring real justice and meaningful change to Richmond, beyond the business community.  And that change in all our communities can only occur by voting for a candidate that can win five districts. A vote for Williams is a strategic vote. A smart informed vote for an experienced candidate that wants to change our inner city schools, fight for more funding for Richmond Public schools and send a clear message that Richmond voters care about underserved neighborhoods and desire an experienced mayor."

Turner said his biggest issue with the race so far is the lack of focus on community redevelopment.  Turner's homes sits directly next to two vacant homes he calls "eye sores."

Turner said the next mayor must do more to fight blight in the city and capitalize on areas that he said are "missed opportunities."

"[The next mayor needs to] put more work into making sure our communities are saved," said Turner.

Extensive interviews and stories about the Richmond mayoral candidates and the issues they face can be found here.